Commodities

New UK lockdown signals lower Kenyan tea prices

tea

Workers pick tea at a farm in Kericho. FILE PHOTO | NMG

geraldandae

Summary

  • The nationwide lockdown imposed in England and Scotland follows the outbreak of the second wave of Covid-19 that has seen restaurants and other hospitality facilities closed, cutting down on the uptake of coffee.
  • England is the third largest consumer of the Kenyan tea worldwide after Pakistan and Egypt.

The price of Kenya’s tea is expected to be subdued in coming weeks following a new lockdown imposed in the United Kingdom (UK), which is one of the key consumers of the local commodity.

The nationwide lockdown imposed in England and Scotland follows the outbreak of the second wave of Covid-19 that has seen restaurants and other hospitality facilities closed, cutting down on the uptake of coffee.

England is the third largest consumer of the Kenyan tea worldwide after Pakistan and Egypt.

Tea prices at the Mombasa auction have tended to dip whenever there have been lockdowns in key markets during the Covid-19 period, responding to a fall in demand.

Mr Apollo Kiarii, the chief executive officer of the Kenya Tea Growers Association said the lockdown is likely to depress prices at the Mombasa auction, which are currently at a four-month high.

“We expect the prices to fall because of the lockdown in England, which is a heavy consumer of our tea,” said Mr Kiarii.

Tea prices rose marginally in the first sale of the year held last week with a kilo fetching Sh211 from Sh203 in the previous sale.

The tea regulator had projected that the price, which has for the better part of last year been at below $1, will increase to $2, signalling a relief to farmers who have had to cope with lower earnings in 2020.